World’s First Complementary Electrochemical Logic Circuit

Organic electrochemical transistor (OECT) is receiving a great deal of attention as it holds a huge potential in the field of bioelectronics. Due to its reported biological and mechanical compatibility, this extremely versatile device emerges as an important player in many applications but with the limitation that it only uses p-type materials. As a result, it inhibits the development of complementary circuits. However, a recent project conducted by the researchers at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics have successfully developed the world’s first complementary electrochemical logic circuit using OECTs constructed from a different material. It has the ability to function stably for long periods in water. What material is it made from?

BBL-based n-type material with ladder-type structure polymer backbone

Further Discussion:

BBL or poly(benzimidazobenzophenanthroline) is a material often used in solar cell research. It is a ladder-type polymer that can successfully work as a stable and efficient n-channel material for OECTs that supports electron transport along its backbone. This material favours ambient stability and sustains high current when doped.

(a.) Cross-sectional schematic of OECT (b.) Chemical structure of BBL (c.) Output characteristics (d.) Transconductance

It is recorded that BBL-based OECTs show high transconductance of up to 9.7 mS, high current levels and excellent modulation in aqueous environment due to its high  electron conductivity and affinity. BBL-based OECTs can be fabricated using facile spray-coating technique, a method to produce thick films of the material of up to 200 nm thick. The thicker the film, the greater its conductivity. 

Processing of spray coating BBL film

With the development of BBL-based OECTs, it is now possible to construct complementary logic circuits like inverters, sensors and other components that can function effectively in moist environments. This can be a technological solution to a variety of diagnostics and therapeutic applications, and other fields of bioelectronics.


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